3 Pagans and a Cat

Three Paths, One Journey, New Cat

Notes for - Episode 025: Liminal: Gender and Sexuality

LGBT inclusion by Yvonne Aburrow

Paganism is not generally homophobic, but it can be heterocentric (centred almost exclusively on heterosexual symbolism). Many Pagans, especially some Wiccans, focus their devotion on a God and a Goddess, and often view them as a heterosexual couple, and insist on heterocentric interpretations of magical concepts like polarity and fertility. This can feel very excluding for LGBT people. Calls for a more inclusive version of Wicca, mine included, have caused considerable controversy in some quarters. I have explored the development of views of gender and sexuality in Paganism (part 1 and part 2) and so has Christine Hoff Kraemer. I also produced a video on gender and sexuality in Wicca, seeking to expand and deepen our understanding of the concepts of polarity and fertility, what tradition is and how it works, what we bring into circle and what we leave outside, and how to make Wicca more LGBTQI-inclusive, with examples from rituals and from history. I further developed these ideas in my book, All Acts of Love and Pleasure: inclusive Wicca.

Dear Car, 

Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in. Here is what I can say on the subject. 

Over the last decade, Pagans have done great work questioning binary language and ideology in our traditions, experimenting with new language and rituals, and developing new traditions that respond to the community's most pressing needs. I am concerned with what I perceive as a trending quickness to dismiss individuals as trans-excluding radical feminists, or "TERFs", particularly when this dismissal is not accompanied by sufficient effort to investigate the truth of the accusations. There are consequences of sex and gender. There are consequences of race, ethnicity, nationality, and socioeconomic class. What I hope for our Pagan community is continuous reflection on intersectionality and the many and varied consequences of sex and gender, and every other factor of identity and presentation. 

Please let me know if you have questions.


Michelle Mueller, Ph.D.
Academic Year Lecturer
Department of Religious Studies
Santa Clara University

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